The University of North Carolina School of the Arts was the country’s first state-supported school for the arts when it opened in 1963 in Winston-Salem. As the name suggests, it’s a place for creative types, offering programs through its five conservatories in dance, design and production, drama, filmmaking, and music. Students describe the UNSCA experience as transformative, intense and inspiring.

Ads by Money. We may be compensated if you click this ad.AdAds by Money disclaimer
Get on the path to success with a student loan from SoFi
With SoFi, you could prequalify to get a loan for next semester. Take advantage of great loan rates today. Select your state and take the first step.
HawaiiAlaskaFloridaSouth CarolinaGeorgiaAlabamaNorth CarolinaTennesseeRIRhode IslandCTConnecticutMAMassachusettsMaineNHNew HampshireVTVermontNew YorkNJNew JerseyDEDelawareMDMarylandWest VirginiaOhioMichiganArizonaNevadaUtahColoradoNew MexicoSouth DakotaIowaIndianaIllinoisMinnesotaWisconsinMissouriLouisianaVirginiaDCWashington DCIdahoCaliforniaNorth DakotaWashingtonOregonMontanaWyomingNebraskaKansasOklahomaPennsylvaniaKentuckyMississippiArkansasTexas

Like its relative in Chapel Hill, the art school, which has about 1,200 students, gets high marks for affordability — tuition for undergrad residents is about $6,500.

Students study with resident master teachers, work with artists across the conservatories and collaborate with each other. The majority of students are involved in producing a Broadway-style musical once every four years (past productions have included a musical adaptation of As You Like It, West Side Story and Guys and Dolls). Well-known alumni include the actresses Mary-Louise Parker and Anna Camp and Broadway director Joe Mantello. The school doesn’t have any collegiate athletic programs, but that doesn’t diminish students’ enthusiasm for their unusual mascot: The Fighting Pickle.